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When she was younger, Anne Simon often cringed as she watched science-fiction TV shows and movies. It wasn’t because the subject matter was so strange or horrific that it made her uncomfortable. It was because Simon was so passionate about science, and the inaccuracies in these stories drove her nuts. “I’d sit there and wince,” said Simon, a longtime professor at the University of Maryland’s Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics department. “I would say to myself, ‘I wish that they would ask someone. Why don’t they ask a scientist?’” In the mid-1990s, when “The X-Files” was only a handful of episodes
A series that covers the true revolutionaries, Game Changers explores how innovators from Big Ten universities — students, faculty and alums — are inventing or reinventing their chosen fields. Dr. Mary-Dell Chilton’s groundbreaking work with genetic engineering in plants started with what seemed to her like a ludicrous theory: that particular species of bacteria could attach to plant genomes and proceed to spread DNA to them. “There was a student in the class that I taught who once told me about agrobacterium and crown gall tumors,” Chilton said. “People had the idea that there might be gene transfer from the